DALLAS (FWAA) Arkansas State's Blake Anderson is this week's nominee for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Anderson, the sixth-year Red Wolves head coach, lost his wife, Wendy, on Aug. 19 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. He returned to the sidelines on Sept. 7 for his team's game at UNLV.
"It's impossible to adequately say thank you to so many amazing people who both energized Wendy's fight and who now are carrying me and our kids daily through prayer, texts, hugs, cards, food and so much more," Anderson said in a statement on Sept. 2. "I apologize for the crudeness of this attempt to say it, but with so many people to reach out to, it seems the only way to even come close."
Wendy Anderson was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in the spring of 2017, and the cancer was located in a spot where doctors could not operate. After undergoing a natural treatment approach, Wendy had surgery late that summer, and she was declared cancer-free Aug. 31, 2017. But the cancer returned in the fall of 2018 at Stage 4, and her condition worsened in the ensuing months. She had surgery in January to relieve the pressure of five large masses in her brain. She underwent radiation and chemotherapy, and she became oxygen-dependent 24 hours a day.
Blake, who had three kids with Wendy, took a leave of absence from the Red Wolves just before Wendy died. In Blake's second game back, in Athens, Ga., thousands of Bulldogs fans wore pink to honor Wendy.
"One of the classiest moves I've ever seen," Anderson told reporters after the game. "Hard to truly prepare for something like that. So I would say thank you to all those who showed up today wearing pink or thinking pink. They don't know my wife, they don't know me and they didn't have to do it."
The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. The winner of the award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.
Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award are SUNY Cortland linebacker Kyle Richard (2018), Wisconsin safety D'Cota Dixon (2017), Pitt running back James Conner (2016), Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton (2015), Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson (2014), San Jose State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval (2013), Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa's Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is a 360-member, primarily volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl on Monday, December 30, 2019. For more information on the 2019-2020 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org. Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl, Facebook and Instagram.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
One Orange Bowl Courage Award